If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. — The Art of War
What would you do if brushing or combing your hair caused your scalp to bleed? Would you start to worry about what was wrong with your skin? Would you be concerned about a skin disease or infection, or would your response simply be to wear a hat or a scarf and forget about it? The majority of our clients would immediately contact their doctor to find out why the simple act of brushing their hair caused their head to bleed.
Now let’s transfer this situation to your mouth. You brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush, yet you notice your gums are bleeding. You floss your teeth gently and carefully, but you notice your gums are bleeding. Even though your gums are a tissue, just like your skin, many of our patients are not the slightest bit concerned about bleeding gums. Yet if any other part of their body was suddenly bleeding, they would be concerned! Bleeding gums are not normal. They are the one of the first and ongoing symptoms of gum disease, also called periodontal disease.
One of the first steps to fighting any disease is recognizing its symptoms. The initial stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. At this point of the disease, oral bacteria work their way beneath the gums and form plaque colonies. In a little more than a day, undisturbed plaque becomes a hard excretion called tartar or dental calculus. Beneath the gums the combination of bacteria, their biofilm plaque, and the rough tartar irritate your gums and lead to inflammation as the immune system tries to fight these invaders.
This inflammation is what leads to bleeding gums. It is also the first sign that you are in danger of developing the next stage of gum disease, periodontitis. With periodontitis, the bacterial infection is so great that the immune system intensifies the attack on the invaders. Accumulated tartar, plaque and bacteria, however, cannot be removed without the help of a dentist. So the combination of bacterial invaders, irritating tartar and an aggressive immunoresponse leads to the destruction of gums, tissues and even bone! Teeth are destroyed by bacterial acid, others become loose due to bone loss. All this dental disaster because a patient ignored bleeding gums!
Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Bleeding gums
- Red or swollen gums (gum tissue is normally pink)
- Bad breath even after brushing your teeth
- Accumulation of tartar along the gumline
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should make an appointment to meet with your dentist at the Placerville Dental Group. Even if you visited your dentist within the last six months, gum disease can do its damage in a short period of time. It’s best to attack the bacterial invaders sooner, not later, to prevent receding gums, damaged teeth and bone loss.
Preventing Gum Disease
- Brush your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes each session.
- Floss your teeth every day with the flossing tool of your choice.
- Consider using an electric toothbrush for better plaque removal.
- Use fluoride regularly, since it retards bacterial growth.
- Consult with your dentist about options in mouthwashes.
Keeping your teeth for a lifetime of use requires preventing their loss in the first place. Gum disease is one of the major factors leading to tooth decay and destruction. With the help of the Placerville Dental Group and our treatments for gum disease, we can help you keep your teeth, your smile and your confidence!